Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been convicted of kidnapping and raping a girl in Unnao.
When a Delhi court found expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar guilty of kidnapping and raping a teenage girl from Uttar Pradesh's Unnao in a high-profile case on Monday, its criticism was not reserved for the convict alone. District Judge Dharmesh Sharma also observed that the CBI had taken a "patriarchal approach" in investigating the case, caring little for the rape survivor or the ordeal she had undergone.
"In my considered opinion, this investigation suffered from a patriarchal approach or an inherent outlook to brush the issue of sexual violence against the children under the carpet, apart from exhibiting lack of sensitivity and a humane approach," the judge observed in his 10-page judgment, questioning the CBI over its delay in filing the chargesheet.
He also said it was "insensitive" of the CBI investigators to repeatedly summon the rape survivor without taking her trauma into account. "The probe was not conducted by a woman officer, as mandated by Section 24 of the POCSO Act, and successive statements of the victim were recorded by calling her to the CBI office without bothering about the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that occurs to a victim of sexual assault in such a case," he said.
The case was being heard at Delhi's Tis Hazari court on a day-to-day basis from August 5, after it was transferred to Delhi from a Lucknow court on a Supreme Court directive. The sentencing of Kuldeep Sengar - a four-time MLA - is scheduled for today, with life imprisonment being the maximum possible punishment.
In his verdict, Judge Sharma also praised the rape survivor for having the courage to "fight against a powerful person" who had even foisted false cases against her family. "The testimony of the (Unnao rape survivor) has been unblemished, truthful and has been proved to be of a sterling quality," he said.
The woman, who was a minor at the time of the assault, welcomed the judgment. "Today, I received justice for the wrong that was done to me," she was quoted as saying by her lawyer.